Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This is really, really beautiful.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

This has been festering in my brain for a long, long while.  Especially since that travesty of justice on Monday.

Can someone please tell me why a person's right to own a gun is more fiercely protected than a woman's right to choose her own medical treatment for her own body?



I need someone to explain this to me so I can stop feeling so completely, absolutely, overwhelmingly disgusted with the country I live in.

I don't know why the Supreme Court needs to be involved in the issue of whether or not a woman can use birth control if she so chooses.  I don't know why this is EVEN AN ISSUE AT ALL.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Yes, another cast iron pan. I told you, it's an obsession!

This is called an aebleskiver pan, and is is used to make a Danish pancake/pastry treat, traditionally served around Christmas time.  They're like spherical pancakes made with a rich egg batter, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

I had never even heard of aebleskiver until two months ago when my cast iron obsession started.  I kept seeing these weird pans for sale on eBay, and had to go to Google to find out what they were used for.  Well, predictably, one thing led to another and I ended up with this:

Aebelskiver pan

This is a Griswold pan, made sometime before 1957 (the picture shows the underside).  I bought this at the beginning of April, but it's been in the lye bath since then for de-gunking, and I just got around to seasoning it last week.

As you can see, it has seven hemispherical wells, in which to cook the aebleskiver.  You pour the batter in, then do a series of half-flips to create the spherical pancake-balls.  Kind of hard to explain, so go watch this video.

When you're done, you get these great little treats.  I flavored mine with cinnamon, cardamom, and lemon zest.


This was so fun!  And they were so tasty, served piping hot with powdered sugar and home made strawberry-lemon jam.  Yum!


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A couple nights ago, I was at a loss for what to make for dinner. I came up with this:

Home made corndogs!  Mom-of-the-Year award received.

Home-made corndogs. Now as a general rule,  I am anti-corndog. Emma isn't allowed to order them when we eat out, because the commercial ones are just disgusting and contain who knows what.

But these are OK, I think. I serve cornbread on a regular basis, and hot dogs on occasion (as long as I can pick out the brand I like, without all the chemicals).  So... cornbread from scratch, with hotdog pieces baked in. I can do that.

These earned me an amazed look and a hug that nearly knocked me over.

"You made corndogs? You made CORNDOGS? You MADE corndogs? You're the best mom ever!"

Home made corndogs!  Mom-of-the-Year award received.

The first four corndogs disappeared in short order, and the rest are in the freezer to be pulled out as needed. Perhaps as bribes to get the resident pre-teen to clean her room....

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Yes, more cast iron.  It's officially an obsession.  :-)

This is a Griswold #9 griddle, made sometime between 1925 and 1940.  It has a cooking surface diameter of 10.5 inches.  This pan was thrown in for FREE when I bought a dutch oven at an antique store here in town.  (I don't know how I came away with two more pieces of iron... I just went in to look, honest...)

Griswold #9 griddle

It's in GREAT condition.  There was a bit of rust on the bottom side, which easily cleaned up with some vinegar and steel wool.  It left a very small amount of pitting, but as you can see from the photo above, it's barely noticeable.

The cooking surface is completely unblemished.  Look at how smooth it is!

Griswold #9 griddle

I've never owned a griddle before, and I love it.  It's great for things that need to be flipped, since there aren't any sides to obstruct access with a spatula.  All I want to do is cook pancakes now!


Thursday, May 01, 2014

I had to go to Prineville, Oregon, this week for work, and along the way my co-worker and I stopped off at the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument to take our lunch break.

It was stunning.

Painted Hills Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

The bands of color in the hills are created by the different rock/soil types, and were just amazing.

There were also some beautiful wildflowers; this is a wild onion, Allium sp.

wild onion (Allium sp.)

I don't have much to say in this post, because the pictures say it all.

Painted Hills Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

There's a geocache here too, and I'm glad I planned it out right to make this my 600th find. I like to get special caches on the milestones, and this one definitely fits.

Painted Hills Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Oregon is such an amazingly beautiful and varied state.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Emma and I went for an Easter hike at Phillips Lake, which is a man-made reservoir on the Powder River, about 45 miles south of La Grande.

Even though we only hiked about three miles round trip, it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, and we got a geocache to boot!

Easter hike, Phillips Lake

I love this time of year, when the valleys and lower slopes are green and flowery, while the tops of the mountains are still snow covered.  The peaks north of the lake are the Elkhorn Mountains.  We will be hiking along the tops of those mountains later this summer.

Emma's doing a unit in school about forests and plants, and one of her assignments is to create a photographic plant collection, so she spent some time looking for flowers and getting pictures. She had a ball.

Easter hike, Phillips Lake

I cannot even express how glad I am that she likes doing the same sort of thing that I do. I love my girl and we love being outside.

Easter hike, Phillips Lake

The wildflowers are in full swing, and the slopes were covered.  This wallflower daggerpod is a new one for me, Phoenicaulis cheiranthoides.  Very pretty.

Along the way, Emma spied a branch floating in the lake, and had to go check it out.

Easter hike, Phillips Lake. Gonna get that floating branch!

Then she had to "rescue" it.

Easter hike, Phillips Lake. GOT that floating branch!

And then she had to haul it somewhere.

Easter hike, Phillips Lake. Now she's gonna drag that branch somewhere!

But where?

Easter hike, Phillips Lake. Heading up the beach with her branch!

Ah!  It had to go ALL the way up the beach to our dinner spot at the base of the bluff .  Success! She's so funny.

So this is where Emma and I had Easter Dinner, a dehydrated hiking meal I made (spaghetti and meat sauce), satsumas, and trail mix.  Not exactly traditional Easter fare, but it was fantastic.  We sat on the beach, listened to the loons calling, and watched the changing light on the mountains and lake.

Easter dinner with my girl, Phillips Lake. Note, please, the branch at rest.

(Note, please, the rescued branch.)

We finally had to head back, and Emma decided that she wanted to carry the backpack for the mile and a half back to the car.  This is my day pack, 28 liter size, and is a great fit for her.  This will work out perfectly when we go backpacking this summer.  She'll be able to carry her own sleeping bag, clothes, water, and snacks.

Easter hike, Phillips Lake.

It was a really, really great day.

Easter hike, Phillips Lake.